Frager Factor

Monday, August 17, 2015

Frank Schilling Gems: "Scum of the Web" (Lost 2011 Interview Recovered)

Frank today overseeing his empire via Twitter
"Frank wasn’t early to the domain party; he built the bulk of his portfolio amid the dot-com rubble of the early part of this decade. But now he stands tall, with mind-boggling 370,00 names generating 25 to 30 million unique visitors a month. Like everyone making his living from advertising, Frank’s taken a hit in the past year. A couple of years ago, Frank said publicly that his portfolio was bringing in $20 million a year.
It’s not now. Far from it.
How much it’s down, though, he won’t say."

While researching past sales history for an article about Frank I am preparing for release very soon, I came across this now stricken from the web 2011 gem of an interview that has been painstakingly restored if you follow the links to the archives. It's worth your time to do, believe me. What makes this interview even the more fascinating and prescient is that it pre-dates Frank's success launching a parking and registry business and selling hundreds of millions of dollars of domain names as mainstream began embracing the idea. As one commenter put it, "One of the best domaining articles I’ve come across. I wish more domain professionals would adopt Frank’s long-term, asset based, intrinsic value view of their digital properties."

In its brief beta release was easy to miss. And if you missed it you missed what is arguabley one of Frank Schilling's most candid interviews ever.

Paul Sloan, a long-term journalist first told the world about domain names and has continued to report on them during stints at CNN, Fortune, NPR and a bunch of other places.

We pick up on the sub-head titled "Scum of the web" where Paul asks Frank, "Isn’t the bad rep of domainers somewhat deserved? After all, it’s, an open secret the most lucrative names are typos of brands and plenty of domainers actively try to make money off of other brands."

Well, that’s an interesting question because it depends on who you call a domainer and the optic through which you view trademark law. If you look at the word “domainer” (as I recall the word’s evolution) it was historically used to differentiate between those who focus on the generic-domain side of the business and those who predominantly focus on TM typos as a core business.

When positive new stories began coming out in the mainstream press about “domainers” and the fortunes people were making with generic names, you had two things happen: Pure-play Cybersquatters came out and said: “Hey, I’m a domainer too”, and people who oppose Cybersquatters as well as people who despise the entire notion of anyone profiting from holding more than one domain name, came out and said: “Look, Cybersquatters have rebranded themselves as Domainers”.

For the most part, if you ask a man on the street who they’d like their daughter to marry, they would place Domainers well above Personal injury lawyers, Politicians and Used car salepeople, so I don’t think the reputation is that bad. Still, you are correct that it is those who abuse marks on a wholesale basis thousands of direct TM typos who sort of cast a pall over the entire industry.

My ‘optic you view trademarks through’ comment refers to the fact that almost any generic term has a trademark on it. Multiple parties can lay claim to the same term. Continued... PLEASE click to continue

Editor's note (2011): Having tried to monetize this stingy domain niche with paywall content, I can understand why economics stopped dead in its tracks. But Paul and David are superbly talented and I hope we will hear more from them even on an occasional basis.

About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

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